AFTON — The parents of Afton senior Clay Mitchell won’t have far to travel to watch him play.
That’s because he’s signed to play football at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
“They gave me the right opportunity,” Mitchell said after signing the paperwork on Wednesday, May 2. “I like the atmosphere there and they are getting brand new facilities.”
NSU, a member of the rugged Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, announced that it would install 110 new custom wood lockers in the locker room, new flooring in the athletic training space and locker room and a new HVAC system.
Mitchell, a member of the Eagles’ 2017 Class A state champion football team, has been recruited as an athlete.
“At first they were going to have me at wide receiver and now they’ve said they may use me on defense,” Mitchell said. “I will play anywhere they want to play me as long as long as I am playing football.”
He said he feels more comfortable playing in the secondary.
“My first 3½ years, I played corner, then switched to safety during the season,” Mitchell said. “I am really good at going for the deep ball.”
“It’s a good opportunity for any kid to go play at the next level, especially for him,” said former Eagle head coach Zach Gardner. “He’s contributed quite a bit, especially in the last two years.
Mitchell had a 95-yard pick 6 in the Eagles’ 32-30 win over Cashion in the second round of the 2017 playoffs.
“He really changed the momentum of the game with that one play,” Gardner said. “He’s had some great plays, especially in the game at Minco (in 2016), which led to a score.
“He’s been a well-rounded player for us.”
NSU was 1-10 in 2017, 1-5 in the MIAA.
The RiverHawks’ only win was a 32-29 in double overtime against Missouri Southern State College.
He will go up against former Afton teammate Wil Amos: NSU hosts Emporia State on Thursday, Sept. 30 in Tahlequah.
Mitchell wants to have a career in the medical field as a physician’s assistant.